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Jerry Finley, of Two Pound Planet (née Urban Edge) and The Breakfast Club, dies of COVID-19

 A week ago Two Pound Planet announced via their Facebook page and  Kickstarter page that their drummer, Jerry Finley, had passed away after a short illness, surrounded by his family.

Tom, Jerry, and Jason are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our bandmate and dear friend, Jerry Finley. Jerry died after a short illness, surrounded by his family.  Few words can express the magnitude of his presence not only within our group, but as an artistic force musically and visually.  For the year and a half preceding his passing, Jerry was collaborating with the band, shooting the album cover photo (that features one of his daughters), setting the gatefold layout, making promotional videos and digging for source tapes that make up the ultimate testament to Two Pound Planet’s legacy, “Songs from the Hydrogen Jukebox: The Mitch Easter Sessions and More”.   

Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to his wife, Tracy and their three children, his parents, and siblings.  Urban Edge/Two Pound Planet was Jerry’s first band when he joined up with Tom Shaw and Jerry Chapman in the fall of 1984.  He later went on to play with Tom and Jason Buss in The Breakfast Club, an 80s tribute act that was one of the first of its kind in the country at the time, and with Tom in Aqua Kitty, a hard rock outfit in Atlanta.  Jerry remained an active force in the east coast music scene until the time of his death.  He was also an accomplished and successful professional photographer and FAA approved drone pilot.

Jerry was not only our heartbeat in Two Pound Planet, but also the one who made us keep pushing on through, using his special brand of Midwestern humor when we felt the odds were insurmountably against us, or more often than not- when the van broke down.  Whether it was personally building the sound and lighting systems we used in the early days, designing our logo and t-shirts, painting our stage backdrops, locating mandolin strings in the middle of Austin, or negotiating deals with venues, Jerry still found the energy to play and sing every show better than the night before.  He was always improving himself.  A consummate musician, Jerry had an acumen for the business side of things- something very rare in the industry. 

He was our mate.  Now, he is gone.  We love and miss him.

This spring, Jerry sent us a message with an edit to his “Thank You” credits that will appear in the upcoming release. We wish to end this announcement with Jerry Finley’s own words…

“Can you please add at the end of my thank yous: "And Tom, Jerry, and Jason for being my rock'n'roll brothers in arms and helping curate a journey I will never forget.””- J.F.

Bandmate Jerry Chapman also posted a tribute on Facebook:

So, a couple words about Jerry...

For those not in the know, Jerry & I were the rhythm section for a band called Two Pound Planet (formerly Urban Edge) from 1984-1993. TPP featured 2 fine singer/songwriters, Tom & Jason. Jerry & I occasionally contributed songs, as well, but Tom & Jason were the default lead singers (and rightly so). People, to this day, ask me who the real voice of the band was. Easy answer. Jerry. A couple days ago, Tom pointed out to us that Jerry had sung on every single one of our songs. Not surprising. His voice was somehow both a bottle rocket & super glue for our songs. Sure, the songs were really good, but Jerry's voice just made it work, maybe in the way that Chris Squire's voice did for Yes. With that part removed, well, it's just not the same.

And his drumming? I'm reminded that I wasn't a fan at first. But I don't think I've ever seen someone work so hard at anything in their lives. I don't know if I believe in natural talent, but he sure did get it quick. I tend to put drummers into 2 camps. Muscular & musical. Jerry was both, of course. The music of the day (hair metal, Nirvana) dictated that you hit the drums HARD. The music of the day (REM, U2) also dictated that you played to serve THE SONG. Man, Jerry was so good at both of these things. In revisiting our music during the last year & 1/2, it became so evident what a huge part of our sound Jerry was.

It should also be noted that Jerry was also usually the funniest person in the room (depending on whether I was in the room or not).

Pour your drink of choice. Fire up "Songs from the Hydrogen Jukebox" (on a loud stereo, if you have one). Say a prayer for Jerry's family. Love hard.

RIP Jerry

From the Greenville Journal:

Jerry Finley, a photographer, videographer and musician who served as International Ballet’s primary photographer, died Oct. 10 after battling COVID-19, International Ballet announced Oct. 14.

Finley worked with a variety of other Upstate businesses and individuals, such as the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, Carolina Ballet Theatre and Ballet Spartanburg.

Finley also collaborated with choreographer Tom Shoemaker and producer Sarah Shoemaker on a ballet film project entitled, “Just Let Go,” which is about loss.

“When we started the project earlier this year, it was because we wanted to comfort the many people who are grieving,” said Sarah Shoemaker. “I simply cannot believe we are now grieving Jerry. He was one of the most gifted photographers I have ever known. He had a heart of gold and was one in a million.”

Finley is survived by his wife, Tracy and his children Chloe, Julian and Atty.

A memorial service will be held on Nov. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Spinning Jenny at 107 Cannon St. in Greer.

International Ballet of Greenville, SC (for whom he was the primary photographer) started a GoFundMe to support Jerry's wife and children and posted the following tribute:

Jerry Finley made everything beautiful. He was one in a million. He was a gifted artist who touched thousands of lives and we are deeply saddened by his passing on October 10, 2021. This GoFundMe has been established to help his wife Tracy during this difficult time.
For International Ballet and countless others, he photographed subjects who will forever have his awe inspiring and captivating images of a beautiful moment in their lives. He shot and edited videos that spoke straight to the heart - sharing his heart in the process. He listened to the visions of other artists and worked to bring their creations to life. For those of us who worked with Jerry, this unexpected turn of events leaves us certain that we will not be the same or look the same without him. He was a kind, generous, and gifted artist in the professional realm - while making it his life's true mission to love and provide for his beautiful family. He was a devoted husband and father.
Please give to help Tracy as she steps into this next part of her journey with some added financial peace born from the fruits of his gifts and devotion to others. These funds will be used for medical bills, end of life expenses, and to help Tracy as she mourns and manages such a devastating loss.
My name is Sarah Shoemaker. I am the Executive Director of International Ballet and the manager of these funds. On behalf of Tracy and their three children - Chloe, Julian, and Atty - thank you.
We love you, Jerry. Thank you for everything.

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